Uganda: Facing the mediterranean

For the last five decades, Kenya and Uganda have had an unofficial pact of providing a passageway for each other’s escapees.  This started with the 1971 Idi Amin overthrow of Milton Obote, which saw a mass exodus of Ugandans into Kenya and elsewhere in the world. The other mass exodus happened in 1986. The second Milton Obote government was overthrown by Brigadier Bazilio Olara-Okello and General Tito Okello. Following the post–coup chaos, the Yoweri Museveni–led National Resistance Army (NRA) seized power.

The story is different in 2015. There is no military takeover in Uganda and Kampala has not fallen. Yet today there are growing numbers of Ugandan refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya. The shift in circumstance is that these particular Ugandans, mainly in their 20s, say they are running away from home because of their sexuality and whom they choose to love.

According to official UNHCR documents, the present crisis began in 2014 when a handful of Ugandan escapees showed up at UNHCR in Nairobi and at Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya. They were all seeking asylum, citing the passage of the 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda as one of their reasons for fearing for their safety. Read More